JERUSALEM: On Tuesday, Israel launched what could be a long-term offensive opposed to the Hamas- dominated Gaza Strip, the military stated, moving at least 50 sites in Gaza by air and sea and calling up troops for a possible land invasion in order to quell rocket attacks on Israel.
The army stated its offensive, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge”, and is aimed at striking Hamas and ending the rocket fire that has escalated in recent weeks amid tensions over the cleanup of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager.
About 300 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel in recent weeks, adding a barrage of some 80 projectiles on Monday alone, the army stated.
Surrounded by the 50 sites the army stated it targeted early Tuesday were four houses belonging to militants, three militant compounds, 18 concealed rocket launchers, and other militant infrastructure sites. Most were targeted in airstrike’s, and three were attacked from the sea.
Gaza health official Ashraf Al-Kedra said at least nine Palestinian civilians were brought to a Gaza hospital with light to moderate injuries from the airstrike’s, including several who suffered from shock. He said some of the injured Palestinians were treated and released.
Hamas has amassed some 10,000 rockets, including longer-range projectiles that can progress to “up to Tel Aviv and beyond”, Lerner stated, including that the army was setting up for the possibility that Hamas would launch rockets toward Israel’s heartland and its commercial and cultural hub.
The army set up hundreds of thousands of Israelis within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip to remain indoors, including Israelis in the major southern city of Beersheva, Lerner stated.